I always used my mobile phone as alarm clock, put it on vibrate, and kept it near me so it can wake me up. At 3AM, I had to literally drag myself out of bed feeling tired after doing house cleaning the day before. I was still moving like a zombie, when about 4AM I was jolted awake by the sudden realization that I had only a few minutes left before the start of the race. I hurriedly placed my stuff in my backpack and went out, praying all along I could get a cab right away.
I arrived at the race venue with only just a few minutes to spare to deposit my stuff at the designated bus and do some warm up exercises. I could hardly believe seeing the number of runners at the starting line. Half marathon running wasn’t this big four years ago. I didn’t even see any familiar faces, well, except for one, that of Raff, whom I haven’t seen since our Macau trip in December 2011. What a way to see Raff. He was my ultracompetent volunteer support during my Bataan Death March 102 ultramarathon race a year ago.
I stayed in the middle of the pack since we would start in waves, and I only had to wait about 5 minutes before our coral hit the starting line. We all lined up minutes after 4:30AM and watched the multimedia presentation shown on the big screen. Then the countdown began.
Last Sunday was supposedly scheduled as an easy long run at about 32-36 kilometers for me, but decided to forego it to give way for this race. I found it really nice to run in a route with different start and finish. I also had no goal in particular as far as PR is concerned. All I wanted was to run easy and finish the race. My getting back slowly to training mode paid well considering that I didn’t experience any difficulty running the first 12 kilometers. It was not until I reached the Roxas Boulevard area, nearing 15KMs now, when I experienced chafing on the inner thigh areas. To me it only means I still need to shed some fats! Haha!
Mind you it was really irritating and I was getting uncomfortable every minute but I had no recourse but to run. After the last turn around point near Luneta Park, seeing the distance remaining on my Garmin, which was to my utmost relief, I only needed to run 6 more kilometers. It means war against chafing! Run chafing run! Haha!
It was also good to see familiar faces that of fellow running bloggers Gigi, Rod, and Jinoe, some of my comrades from the ultramarathon community, some fast running friends, and race organizer Coach Rio, on his motorcycle while monitoring the runners and progress of the race. I had no problems with hydration. Both water and energy drink appeared to be plentiful. There were also bananas given to runners.
On the last 3KM, I was cheered on by another race organizer, Ian Alacar, and lucky for me I was paced by an elite runner, Genevieve Dela Peña, all the way to the finish line. I salute you, Ms. Elite Runner!
Got the finisher’s medal … done with the first leg … on to the next running odyssey!